Big Workflow Changes = More Big Hardware Changes

Here’s an essay and a half… In the past year I’ve went from an iPhone SE & MacBook Pro 2017 nTB base model. This was a fantastic setup as I was at university in middle year. In my final year I had gotten a job where I used my MBP as a key tool to impress them doing admin, marketing and web design work. It truly was the key to my income and future job! Fantastic.

I had some issues with the MBP and it had new displays put in by Apple a few times. Eventually, this got annoying and I complained. Apple offered a refund or a contribution from me to trade for a 2018 MBP TouchBar 512GB model. My dream configuration, stupidly, I went for it. This was an amazing upgrade, quad-core, more storage, beautiful machine. The ultimate Mac in my eyes. But come February, I had more issues of the same kind (with the display) and coupled with the fact I had over £2,000 on my person at university and to/from work it was all too much pressure, and the risk of it coming out of warranty and having a serious issue. I parted with it before it was too late. Also upgraded the SE to an XR at this time.

I opted for a Mac Mini to use with my home desk setup and got a setup at work. I travelled with the 6-core box and it was generally good. I then got an iPad Air 3 for me and my gf at launch earlier this day. iPad for everything, Mac Mini for work and occasionally for big assignments at home. I would even leave the Mac mini in the office for convenience. At work, I got a bit fed up with moving between two offices (one had a desk setup, other did not) so I tried using the iPad using Canva, Affinity and Office / PDF Expert to do my duties, which it was capable of doing. But one day, in May under pressure with eyes on my screen I was asked to do a simple adjustment of text size on a brochure. Affinity kept crashing. I also couldn’t work with video as I couldn’t download an MP3 track from the internet to use with it (now solved by iOS 13 ftr). I had it! I wanted a real PC, real power and portability. I didn’t want to go back to the MBP or a lesser Mac - especially at the price.

I bought a ThinkPad X280 to fit into my jobs Windows environment better too (I had introduced SharePoint 365 to the company). This did okay, and as I’m an ecosystem freak I moved all my stuff to OneDrive and Microsoft services. Windows 10 seemed refreshing and new and exciting, the hardware was great and also immune to my particular issues on the MBP - though definitely no competition performance wise. I even went as far as selling my XR for an S10+ to get better integration with Windows and Android than what iOS can offer currently - integration and seamless ecosystem was my favourite thing about the Mac and iPhone setup.

I hated the Samsung, despite it being a great device and the ThinkPad and Windows 10 didn’t feel nice to own. Even though, again it was good hardware, capable software… I used Ubuntu for a month or two before selling the it. I returned the Samsung under the 30 day policy, got a full refund. Bought another XR (I know!) 128GB. I sold the ThinkPad and the Mac Mini and with the cash got a good deal on a 12" brand new MacBook from John Lewis here in the UK for £800 plus two year guarantee.

Here’s the important bit: My job where I needed my own computer and to be able to do marketing (video, photo, creative pursuits), web design (graphics, mass filesystem use, full web browsers and testing environments) was over. They couldn’t deliver on a promise of employment post-university so I left. It was a great year of experience, but web design and marketing for me weren’t were I wanted to continue. Admin, boring as it might be, is the path I’m now on.

So now, my lineup is a bright yellow iPhone XR 128GB and a nearly-new one month old MacBook 12" Silver 256GB.

My current job is Admin only and they issue a work machine. Not only am I not allowed to use my own machine, but can’t even use it at home to access work files - the work machine must come home with me for this purpose (clear desk policy and all that). So I have a steady, dependable and capable work machine to use anytime around the clock. Back when I had my MBP, it was mission critical. There is no longer a need for me to have my own capable machine. Phew, what a relief.

That’s the big change in my use case and its demands. Now, I come home and my Mac is all setup how I want, I back it up, do some browsing, consuming content, news, email, budgets for myself, photo editing to share with my gf. My needs are so light. I read on MPU Talk and other forums and watch YouTubers talk about tech and yet I have no real need or use for my own, I considered upgrading Parallels but I have no real need for it. I miss my powerful MBP for it’s sheer sex appeal, but again, I’d have no use for it. Furthermore, when with family and friends it’s nearly anti-social to whip out the laptop, it closes me off and steals my focus! Using it in bed also seems like I’m not engaged with my partner. So I’m thinking of selling the MacBook now while it’s valuable and so it doesn’t go to waste on me.

I loved the iPad lifestyle, how it could be thrown into the car door bin and brought anywhere. It could be taken out in a café as we searched for tickets for stuff and held up in bed to watch movies (dead arm included!). It fitted into my everyday more, and unlike my MBP it didn’t feel like I was spending more dreaded time on this thing after a long day of also using it at work. As I mentioned above, it let me down in my last job, but I’ll never work there again nor apply for jobs with duties like that. And if I did, most firms issue machines anyway!

The new plan is to go iPad only in my personal life. I’ve done this before with an iPad 2 in 2011, an iPad in 2017 and recently depended a lot on it with that Air 3. I know what I’m in for. And, I’ll have this i5 W10 15" laptop nearby if needed.

I’d love another Air 3, but it’s getting so close to October that new iPads, particularly the budget model, are to be revealed. I’m tempted to buy a cheap 9.7" 2018 model now, but having had that Air 3 I feel it’ll not be the nice experience I remember. I’m going to hold off until the October event until I can see if the budget model will fit my needs. Only tempting proposition is Apple’s current free headphones offer on the Air 3 until end of September, I’m seeking a replacement for my B&W C5’s (5 years old!) and this time, over ear… but I head bad things about Beats.

The MacBook is still listed on eBay UK, if I can get what I paid for it £800 for a machine that’s usually £1250 I’ll be happy, before it de-values severely and gets more cosmetically used and more battery cycle counts.

In the meantime, I’m going to use my iPhone XR. It sits at my work desk 9-5 on a wireless charging dock, navigates me and plays music in the car wherever I go, and generally punches above its weight as a ‘computer’. It’ll be fine for a few weeks! To say maybe I’ll not need an iPad is a little silly, as the big screen is undoubtable needed for even personal tasks like writing a letter or doing other light tasks beyond the scope of a phone in the long term.

Has anybody else had a dramatic change in workflow and made similar ‘downsizes’ and lived to not regret it? Do you go iPad only etc? Can you tell me what you advise in my case?